New home construction bounced back in last month from the horrendous side of more than 15% it suffered during February. Single-family home construction was a major factor, with an increase of 4.4% — to a rate of 618,000. The March rate for units in buildings with 5 units or more was 287,000 down 22,000 from the previous month.
Construction of new homes authorized by building permits in March fell 5.7%,to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,039,000, but is 2.9% above the March 2014 level.
Permits for single-family home construction jumped 2.1%, while apartment building permits were down 72,000 — to a rate of 378,000.
In Winston-Salem, N.C., where prices are up more than 15%, broker Eric Munger said that clients are becoming discouraged by the lack of inventory. He said one client recently decided to renew his lease for six months because he couldn’t find a house to match his criteria.
“We’re encouraging them to make the move anyway if they can find a home that doesn’t meet all their criteria but [meets] most of it. They can make improvements and changes that make it more of a right fit for them,” he said. Indeed, retirees drove demand in warmer states in the southern and western parts of the country, such as Port St. Lucie, where prices shot up nearly 23%, and the Charlotte, N.C., area where prices were up by 18%.
In Sherman-Denison, a quiet area on Lake Texoma near the Oklahoma border, Ms. Hitchcock said that she saw a surge of interest from retirees in January, when the real-estate market is typically sleepy.
To better serve the retiree market, she said she is taking two courses specializing in selling real-estate to seniors, as new subdivisions are popping up on rural land to help meet demand.
The complete report is available on the Commerce Department website.